4 Stars, Alexa Snow, Loose Id, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lana

Review: Speak No Evil by Alexa Snow

Title: Speak No Evil

Author: Alexa Snow

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 266 Pages

At a Glance: Speak No Evil is a different ghost/mystery story. If you’re in the mood for a moody ghost story, pick this one up.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Jamie Kincade’s world is turned upside down when Sebastian, a young man who doesn’t speak and who shares the ability to see ghosts that Jamie’s had since childhood, enters his life. Jamie finds Sebastian fascinating on multiple levels, and is determined to help him learn to speak again. He can barely keep his thoughts–or hands–off Sebastian, who wants him and makes no attempt to hide it.

The age difference between them–Sebastian is almost 15 years Jamie’s junior–is a problem for Jamie, but Jamie’s reluctance isn’t the only thing keeping them from focusing on the potential they might have as a couple; the collection of ghosts Jamie has been living with in relative harmony for more than a decade has no intention of leaving Sebastian alone now that he’s here. Their desperate attempts to get Sebastian’s attention are a distraction Jamie would be grateful for if they didn’t upset Sebastian so much. Jamie is torn between wanting to send Sebastian away for his own good and wanting to drag him off to bed, and with Sebastian tempting him both deliberately and subconsciously, it can’t be long before Jamie’s self-control snaps…

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Review: Speak No Evil is a very entraining ghost story that kept me engaged. The “I see dead people” story line has been done to death, but this book had a little twist which I think makes it stand out among the crowd.

We first meet Jamie, who’s a bit of a recluse. He lives alone in the country, he works as a writing editor with no human interaction, and he’s not close to his sister, his only remaining family. His last relationship was so long ago that it’s collecting dust. And, he also sees ghosts. He’s seen them as long as he can remember. After realizing that he’s not crazy, he accepts what he can’t change and deals with it in his own way, keeping away from the living. But, more importantly, the ghosts don’t see him.

As with most ghost stories, on a cold, rainy and windswept night, Jamie’s solitude is broken. Sebastian takes refuge in his shed and turns his world upside down. Sebastian is running from his tragic past. Because of it, he’s stopped talking. He can also see ghosts, but he can also hear them and they him in return. Sebastian sticks around, and together they try to figure out the mystery of their own interactions with the ghost. And there’s some loving on the side.

The subplot with Jamie’s sister was a bit slow, and I wasn’t sure why it was part of the story, but eventually it was cleared up. There’s a twist in the siblings’ relationship, and Jamie realizes that his sister is not that different from him, and their relationship grows stronger. There is also a mystery involving a strange ghost that both see, another ghost threatens Jamie, and Sebastian finds out that he can affect the ghost and help them move on.

While I liked the book, I did think it was slow in some parts, but it did pick up when Jamie and Sebastian played against each other. Their mutual attraction and interactions were very well written, and I really liked it. Jamie was a bit hung up on their age difference, but he got over it eventually. This was a very emotional story with not much humor. I wish it were a little lighter.

Speak No Evil is a different ghost/mystery story. If you’re in the mood for a moody ghost story, pick this one up.

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You can buy Speak No Evil here:

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3 Stars, Alexa Snow, Genre Romance, Jane Davitt, Loose Id, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: The Empty Box by Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow

Title: The Empty Box (The Square Peg: Book Three)

Author: Jane Davitt & Alexa Snow

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 273 Pages

At a Glance: This is a pleasant, if not groundbreaking, story.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Dave’s taking life day by day after leaving Travis, his emotionally abusive partner of fifteen years. Working as the cook at the Square Peg is all the social life he has and he’s content with that.

When a swerving car leaves him sprawled on the snowy sidewalk with a broken ankle, being rescued by his new neighbor, young, sinfully pretty Jeremy, seems like the start of something good, even if twenty years separate the two men. But Travis isn’t content to let Dave slip away and Dave’s his own worst enemy, holding Jeremy at arms’ length when Jeremy wants to get as close as possible.

With decisions about his future complicated by his tangled past, can Dave accept the second chance Jeremy offers or will his heart stay empty of love?

Dividers

Review: Note: I have to say I didn’t really realize that this was part of a series when I asked for this for review. I believe the first two books are about two other couples from the bar The Square Peg, but it seems like this can be read as a standalone, and I didn’t feel like I was missing any vital information to this story.

Dave is the chef at a local gay bar. One night, as he’s coming home after closing, he is walking to his condo when he is nearly hit by a rather reckless driver. He manages to get onto the sidewalk, but because of the snow and ice, he takes a pretty bad fall. He knows he’s hurt, but just not how badly. His new neighbor, Jeremy, finds him and takes him to hospital, where he learns it’s in fact a broken ankle and he’s going to be down for the count for a while. Of course Dave is cold and tired and cranky, so he’s possibly not putting his best foot forward with the new neighbor, but Jeremy seems to be somewhat socially awkward and a bit clueless, so they sort of balance each other out.

Dave is in his forties and has finally gotten out of a long term and very toxic relationship with his ex, Travis. Travis is a cheating, lying, addicted, manipulative asshole, and has taken Dave for a ride so many times he’d finally had enough and cut things off for good. Jeremy is only 29 and he is self-employed as a specialty computer builder and works from his condo. He also has a cat. :) Jeremy volunteers to help Dave around the house while he is convalescing. Dave doesn’t really want anybody’s help (he’s kind of stubborn that way), but Jeremy doesn’t want to give up on Dave either – since he confesses that he’s attracted to Dave.

While poor Dave is trying to heal, Jeremy manages to insinuate himself into Dave’s life. Jeremy is an interesting character. He seems to always be trying to figure out what the rules are and what he should say/not say. The authors don’t spell it out, but it’s almost like he’s got a spectrum disorder where he’s not sure what the “normal” thing is that he should do or say in any given situation. I liked Jeremy a lot though – his filter was kinda off, but he’s got a really good heart.

Of course, you know when there is a jerky ex around, he’s gotta cause trouble, so no exception here. Travis is also possessive, jealous and a vindictive user who always belittled Dave and everything he wanted to accomplish, on top of everything else in his lovely personality arsenal. When he figures out that Dave and Jeremy might be more than friends, he starts trouble. Jeremy and Dave do not agree on how to handle things with Travis, and this causes quite a bit of friction in their budding relationship. On top of that, Dave has a slight issue with the fact that Jeremy has never actually been with another man before, and has only dated women in the past. Jeremy is pretty convincing though. ;)
For those who read the first two books, the Square Peg, the owners, and other employees play a large part in this story. Ben and Shane support Dave while he is working to get back on his feet. Patrick and Vin are also there to lend moral support. There is also a lovely side story with a gentleman from the Farmer’s Market, whom Dave is friendly with. He is a gem of a character, and I’d love to read more about him sometime.

Of course, just as Jeremy and Dave finally get to a place where they are both happy, and they are supporting each other and doing exactly what they want to do, the other shoe has to drop. This puts a huge strain on their relationship and could unravel everything they have built together. With two guys who have spent so much time in their own heads, it’s definitely an uphill battle for them to find a way to communicate.

I really liked the characters and found Jeremy especially to be an interesting guy, with all his quirks. He refused to take Dave’s moods at face value and pushed him to stop perceiving himself through the Travis-colored lenses he’s worn for so long. I really loved the beekeeper, Locke, and his nephew. I also really liked the other characters from the Square Peg (and I’ll have to go back and read their stories). There wasn’t anything terribly new or different in this story, but I enjoyed the journey Dave and Jeremy take together.







 

You can buy The Empty Box here:

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Alexa Snow, Ava March, Elyan Smith, Jane Davitt, Joey W. Hill, Katie Porter, Kim Dare, L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing

O Come All Ye Kinky Edited by Sarah Frantz

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Let’s be naughty and save Santa a trip. – Gary Allan

Well, happy hot, hot holidays, everyone. Seems ‘tis the season to be bound and gagged and spanked and sexed up to the nines, when gifts aren’t tied up in ribbons and bows as much as folks are tied up in leather and ropes and are begging for the gifts of pain and pleasure, and all that glitters is duct tape, and everyone is giving the gifts of dominance and submission, those gifts that just keep on giving all year long.

O Come All Ye Kinky is a collection of eight BDSM themed stories:

Tree Topper by Jane Davitt
’Twas the Night by Ava March
Fireworks by Katie Porter
Candy Caning by L.A. Witt
Submissive Angel by Joey W. Hill
Open Return by Elyan Smith
Ring Out the Old and In the New by Alexa Snow
His Very Last Chance by Kim Dare

And each individual story in this anthology makes reading them all more than worth it. From a couple trying to figure out their roles in a relationship; to a woman struggling so hard to believe that she could ever come first in anyone’s life; to a transgendered man who’s coming home after a fifteen year absence, unsure of whether he still has a place there; to a man trying desperately to recover from the aftereffects of a violent crime, these stories all seem to have one underlying similarity, regardless of the author—they each center around a couple (or a threesome) who find that love is the one gift you can give away and will be more than glad when it’s returned.

Honestly, O Come All Ye Kinky has a little bit of something for everyone. Before I picked it up, I was one-hundred percent certain that four of the eight authors were going to deliver because I was already a fan of their work. After reading it, now I can say with one-hundred percent certainty that I count myself a budding fan of those new-to-me authors as well.

Whether you’re looking for historical erotica, something with an ethereal magic to it, something that will tug at your heartstrings, or something that’s just flat-out dead sexy, you’ll find it in this well written and complementary collection of short fiction. I can guarantee you there are more than noses being nipped at here, so go ahead and be naughty; add a little fetish to your holidays. You may never look at candy canes and wrapping paper and Christmas lights quite the same way again.

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